Othello - Act 2, scene 3
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 2, scene 3
Iago gets Cassio drunk, making it easy for Roderigo to provoke Cassio into a brawl, first with Roderigo, then with Montano, whom he wounds. Othello, called from his bed by the noise, stops the brawl and strips Cassio of his lieutenancy. Iago advises Cassio to seek Desdemona’s help in getting reinstated. The next step in Iago’s plan is to tell Othello that Desdemona supports Cassio because Cassio is her lover.Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Attendants.
1123 Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight.
1124 Let’s teach ourselves that honorable stop
1125 Not to outsport discretion.
1126 Iago hath direction what to do,
1127 5 But notwithstanding, with my personal eye
1128 Will I look to ’t.
1130 Michael, goodnight. Tomorrow with your earliest
1131 Let me have speech with you. ⌜To Desdemona.⌝ Come,
1132 10 my dear love,
1133 The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
1134 That profit’s yet to come ’tween me and you.—
⟨Othello and Desdemona⟩ exit, ⌜with Attendants.⌝
1136 Welcome, Iago. We must to the watch.
IAGO 1137 15Not this hour, lieutenant. ’Tis not yet ten o’ th’
1138 clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love of
1139 his Desdemona—who let us not therefore blame;
1140 he hath not yet made wanton the night with her, and
1141 she is sport for Jove.
CASSIO 1142 20She’s a most exquisite lady.
IAGO 1143 And, I’ll warrant her, full of game.
CASSIO 1144 Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate
IAGO 1146 What an eye she has! Methinks it sounds a parley
1147 25 to provocation.
CASSIO 1148 An inviting eye, and yet methinks right
IAGO 1150 And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?
CASSIO 1151 She is indeed perfection.
IAGO 1152 30Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant,
1153 I have a stoup of wine; and here without are a
1154 brace of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a
1155 measure to the health of black Othello.
CASSIO 1156 Not tonight, good Iago. I have very poor and
1157 35 unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish
1158 courtesy would invent some other custom of
IAGO 1160 O, they are our friends! But one cup; I’ll drink
1161 for you.
1163 craftily qualified too, and behold what innovation it
1164 makes here. I am ⟨unfortunate⟩ in the infirmity and
1165 dare not task my weakness with any more.
IAGO 1166 What, man! ’Tis a night of revels. The gallants
1167 45 desire it.
CASSIO 1168 Where are they?
IAGO 1169 Here at the door. I pray you, call them in.
CASSIO 1170 I’ll do ’t, but it dislikes me.He exits.
1171 If I can fasten but one cup upon him
1172 50 With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
1173 He’ll be as full of quarrel and offense
1174 As my young mistress’ dog. Now my sick fool
1176 Whom love hath turned almost the wrong side out,
1177 55 To Desdemona hath tonight caroused
1178 Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch.
1179 Three else of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits
1180 That hold their honors in a wary distance,
1181 The very elements of this warlike isle,
1182 60 Have I tonight flustered with flowing cups;
1183 And they watch too. Now, ’mongst this flock of
1185 Am I ⟨to put⟩ our Cassio in some action
1186 That may offend the isle. But here they come.
1187 65 If consequence do but approve my dream,
1188 My boat sails freely both with wind and stream.
Enter Cassio, Montano, and Gentlemen, ⌜followed by
Servants with wine.⌝
CASSIO 1189 ’Fore ⟨God,⟩ they have given me a rouse
MONTANO 1191 Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I
1192 70 am a soldier.
IAGO 1193 Some wine, ho!
1195 And let me the cannikin clink.
1196 A soldier’s a man,
1197 75 O, man’s life’s but a span,
1198 Why, then, let a soldier drink.
1199 Some wine, boys!
CASSIO 1200 ’Fore ⟨God,⟩ an excellent song.
IAGO 1201 I learned it in England, where indeed they are
1202 80 most potent in potting. Your Dane, your German,
1203 and your swag-bellied Hollander—drink, ho!—are
1204 nothing to your English.
CASSIO 1205 Is your ⟨Englishman⟩ so exquisite in his
IAGO 1207 85Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane
1208 dead drunk. He sweats not to overthrow your Almain.
1209 He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next
1210 pottle can be filled.
CASSIO 1211 To the health of our general!
MONTANO 1212 90I am for it, lieutenant, and I’ll do you
IAGO 1214 O sweet England!
⌜Sings.⌝ 1215 King Stephen was and-a worthy peer,
1216 His breeches cost him but a crown;
1217 95 He held them sixpence all too dear;
1218 With that he called the tailor lown.
1219 He was a wight of high renown,
1220 And thou art but of low degree;
1221 ’Tis pride that pulls the country down,
1222 100 ⟨Then⟩ take thy auld cloak about thee.
1223 Some wine, ho!
CASSIO 1224 ⟨’Fore God,⟩ this is a more exquisite song than
1225 the other!
IAGO 1226 Will you hear ’t again?
CASSIO 1227 105No, for I hold him to be unworthy of his place
1228 that does those things. Well, ⟨God’s⟩ above all; and
1229 there be souls must be saved, [and there be souls
1230 must not be saved.]
CASSIO 1232 110For mine own part—no offense to the General,
1233 nor any man of quality—I hope to be saved.
IAGO 1234 And so do I too, lieutenant.
CASSIO 1235 Ay, but, by your leave, not before me. The
1236 Lieutenant is to be saved before the Ancient. Let’s
1237 115 have no more of this. Let’s to our affairs. ⟨God⟩
1238 forgive us our sins! Gentlemen, let’s look to our
1239 business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk. This
1240 is my ancient, this is my right hand, and this is my
1241 left. I am not drunk now. I can stand well enough,
1242 120 and I speak well enough.
GENTLEMEN 1243 Excellent well.
CASSIO 1244 Why, very well then. You must not think then
1245 that I am drunk.He exits.
1246 To th’ platform, masters. Come, let’s set the watch.
IAGO, ⌜to Montano⌝
1247 125 You see this fellow that is gone before?
1248 He’s a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
1249 And give direction; and do but see his vice.
1250 ’Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
1251 The one as long as th’ other. ’Tis pity of him.
1252 130 I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
1253 On some odd time of his infirmity,
1254 Will shake this island.
MONTANO 1255 But is he often thus?
1256 ’Tis evermore ⟨the⟩ prologue to his sleep.
1257 135 He’ll watch the horologe a double set
1258 If drink rock not his cradle.
MONTANO 1259 It were well
1260 The General were put in mind of it.
1261 Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature
1262 140 Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio
1263 And looks not on his evils. Is not this true?
IAGO, ⌜aside to Roderigo⌝ 1264 How now, Roderigo?
1265 I pray you, after the Lieutenant, go.
1266 And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
1267 145 Should hazard such a place as his own second
1268 With one of an engraffed infirmity.
1269 It were an honest action to say so
1270 To the Moor.
IAGO 1271 Not I, for this fair island.
1272 150 I do love Cassio well and would do much
1273 To cure him of this evil—⟨“Help, help!” within.⟩
1274 But hark! What noise?
Enter Cassio, pursuing Roderigo.
CASSIO 1275 ⟨Zounds,⟩ you rogue, you rascal!
MONTANO 1276 What’s the matter, lieutenant?
CASSIO 1277 155A knave teach me my duty? I’ll beat the knave
1278 into a twiggen bottle.
RODERIGO 1279 Beat me?
CASSIO 1280 Dost thou prate, rogue?⌜He hits Roderigo.⌝
MONTANO 1281 Nay, good lieutenant. I pray you, sir, hold
1282 160 your hand.
CASSIO 1283 Let me go, sir, or I’ll knock you o’er the
MONTANO 1285 Come, come, you’re drunk.
CASSIO 1286 Drunk?
IAGO, ⌜aside to Roderigo⌝
1287 165 Away, I say! Go out and cry a mutiny.
1288 Nay, good lieutenant.—⟨God’s will,⟩ gentlemen!—
1289 Help, ho! Lieutenant—sir—Montano—⟨sir⟩—
1290 Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!
⟨A bell is rung.⟩
1292 170 The town will rise. ⟨God’s will,⟩ lieutenant, ⟨hold!⟩
1293 You ⟨will be shamed⟩ forever.
Enter Othello and Attendants.
1294 What is the matter here?
MONTANO 1295 ⟨Zounds,⟩ I bleed
1297 175 I am hurt to th’ death. He dies!⌜He attacks Cassio.⌝
OTHELLO 1298 Hold, for your lives!
1299 Hold, ho! Lieutenant—sir—Montano—
1301 Have you forgot all ⌜sense of place⌝ and duty?
1302 180 Hold! The General speaks to you. Hold, for shame!
1303 Why, how now, ho! From whence ariseth this?
1304 Are we turned Turks, and to ourselves do that
1305 Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
1306 For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl!
1307 185 He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
1308 Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
1309 Silence that dreadful bell. It frights the isle
1310 From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
1311 Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving,
1312 190 Speak. Who began this? On thy love, I charge thee.
1313 I do not know. Friends all but now, even now,
1314 In quarter and in terms like bride and groom
1315 Divesting them for bed; and then but now,
1316 As if some planet had unwitted men,
1317 195 Swords out, and tilting one at other’s ⟨breast,⟩
1318 In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
1319 Any beginning to this peevish odds,
1320 And would in action glorious I had lost
1321 Those legs that brought me to a part of it!
1322 200 How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?
1323 I pray you pardon me; I cannot speak.
1324 Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil.
1325 The gravity and stillness of your youth
1326 The world hath noted. And your name is great
1327 205 In mouths of wisest censure. What’s the matter
1328 That you unlace your reputation thus,
1329 And spend your rich opinion for the name
1330 Of a night-brawler? Give me answer to it.
1331 Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
1332 210 Your officer Iago can inform you,
1333 While I spare speech, which something now offends
1335 Of all that I do know; nor know I aught
1336 By me that’s said or done amiss this night,
1337 215 Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
1338 And to defend ourselves it be a sin
1339 When violence assails us.
OTHELLO 1340 Now, by heaven,
1341 My blood begins my safer guides to rule,
1342 220 And passion, having my best judgment collied,
1343 Assays to lead the way. ⟨Zounds, if I⟩ stir,
1344 Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
1345 Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
1346 How this foul rout began, who set it on;
1347 225 And he that is approved in this offense,
1348 Though he had twinned with me, both at a birth,
1349 Shall lose me. What, in a town of war
1350 Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,
1351 To manage private and domestic quarrel,
1352 230 In night, and on the court and guard of safety?
1353 ’Tis monstrous. Iago, who began ’t?
1354 If partially affined, or ⌜leagued⌝ in office,
1355 Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
1356 Thou art no soldier.
IAGO 1357 235 Touch me not so near.
1358 I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
1359 Than it should do offense to Michael Cassio.
1360 Yet I persuade myself, to speak the truth
1361 Shall nothing wrong him. ⟨Thus⟩ it is, general:
1362 240 Montano and myself being in speech,
1363 There comes a fellow crying out for help,
1364 And Cassio following him with determined sword
1365 To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
⌜Pointing to Montano.⌝
1366 Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause.
1367 245 Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
1368 Lest by his clamor—as it so fell out—
1369 The town might fall in fright. He, swift of foot,
1370 Outran my purpose, and I returned ⟨the⟩ rather
1371 For that I heard the clink and fall of swords
1372 250 And Cassio high in oath, which till tonight
1373 I ne’er might say before. When I came back—
1374 For this was brief—I found them close together
1375 At blow and thrust, even as again they were
1376 When you yourself did part them.
1377 255 More of this matter cannot I report.
1378 But men are men; the best sometimes forget.
1379 Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
1380 As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
1381 Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
1382 260 From him that fled some strange indignity
1383 Which patience could not pass.
OTHELLO 1384 I know, Iago,
1385 Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
1386 Making it light to Cassio.—Cassio, I love thee,
1387 265 But nevermore be officer of mine.
1388 Look if my gentle love be not raised up!
1389 I’ll make thee an example.
1390 What is the matter, dear?
OTHELLO 1391 All’s well ⟨now,⟩
1392 270 sweeting.
1393 Come away to bed. ⌜To Montano.⌝ Sir, for your hurts,
1394 Myself will be your surgeon.—Lead him off.
⌜Montano is led off.⌝
1395 Iago, look with care about the town
1396 And silence those whom this vile brawl
1397 275 distracted.—
1398 Come, Desdemona. ’Tis the soldier’s life
1399 To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.
⌜All but Iago and Cassio⌝ exit.
IAGO 1400 What, are you hurt, lieutenant?
CASSIO 1401 Ay, past all surgery.
IAGO 1402 280Marry, ⟨God⟩ forbid!
CASSIO 1403 Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have
1404 lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
1405 myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
1406 Iago, my reputation!
IAGO 1407 285As I am an honest man, I thought you had
1408 received some bodily wound. There is more sense
1409 in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and
1410 most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost
1411 without deserving. You have lost no reputation at
1412 290 all, unless you repute yourself such a loser. What,
1413 man, there are ways to recover the General again!
1414 You are but now cast in his mood—a punishment
1415 more in policy than in malice, even so as one would
1416 beat his offenseless dog to affright an imperious
1417 295 lion. Sue to him again and he’s yours.
CASSIO 1418 I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive
1419 so good a commander with so slight, so drunken,
1421 parrot? And squabble? Swagger? Swear? And discourse
1422 300 fustian with one’s own shadow?] O thou
1423 invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be
1424 known by, let us call thee devil!
IAGO 1425 What was he that you followed with your sword?
1426 What had he done to you?
CASSIO 1427 305I know not.
IAGO 1428 Is ’t possible?
CASSIO 1429 I remember a mass of things, but nothing
1430 distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O
1431 ⟨God,⟩ that men should put an enemy in their
1432 310 mouths to steal away their brains! That we should
1433 with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause transform
1434 ourselves into beasts!
IAGO 1435 Why, but you are now well enough. How came
1436 you thus recovered?
CASSIO 1437 315It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give
1438 place to the devil wrath. One unperfectness shows
1439 me another, to make me frankly despise myself.
IAGO 1440 Come, you are too severe a moraler. As the time,
1441 the place, and the condition of this country stands,
1442 320 I could heartily wish this had not ⟨so⟩ befallen. But
1443 since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
CASSIO 1444 I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell
1445 me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as
1446 Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be
1447 325 now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently
1448 a beast! O, strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed,
1449 and the ingredient is a devil.
IAGO 1450 Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
1451 if it be well used. Exclaim no more against it.
1452 330 And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.
CASSIO 1453 I have well approved it, sir.—I drunk!
IAGO 1454 You or any man living may be drunk at a time,
1455 man. ⟨I’ll⟩ tell you what you shall do. Our general’s
1457 335 respect, for that he hath devoted and given up
1458 himself to the contemplation, mark, and ⌜denotement⌝
1459 of her parts and graces. Confess yourself
1460 freely to her. Importune her help to put you in your
1461 place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so
1462 340 blessed a disposition she holds it a vice in her
1463 goodness not to do more than she is requested. This
1464 broken joint between you and her husband entreat
1465 her to splinter, and, my fortunes against any lay
1466 worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow
1467 345 stronger than it was before.
CASSIO 1468 You advise me well.
IAGO 1469 I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest
CASSIO 1471 I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I
1472 350 will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake
1473 for me. I am desperate of my fortunes if they check
1474 me ⟨here⟩.
IAGO 1475 You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant. I
1476 must to the watch.
CASSIO 1477 355Good night, honest Iago.Cassio exits.
1478 And what’s he, then, that says I play the villain,
1479 When this advice is free I give and honest,
1480 Probal to thinking, and indeed the course
1481 To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
1482 360 Th’ inclining Desdemona to subdue
1483 In any honest suit. She’s framed as fruitful
1484 As the free elements. And then for her
1485 To win the Moor—⟨were ’t⟩ to renounce his baptism,
1486 All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin—
1487 365 His soul is so enfettered to her love
1488 That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
1489 Even as her appetite shall play the god
1490 With his weak function. How am I then a villain
1492 370 Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
1493 When devils will the blackest sins put on,
1494 They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
1495 As I do now. For whiles this honest fool
1496 Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune,
1497 375 And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
1498 I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear:
1499 That she repeals him for her body’s lust;
1500 And by how much she strives to do him good,
1501 She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
1502 380 So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
1503 And out of her own goodness make the net
1504 That shall enmesh them all.
1505 How now, Roderigo?
RODERIGO 1506 I do follow here in the chase, not like a
1507 385 hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My
1508 money is almost spent, I have been tonight exceedingly
1509 well cudgeled, and I think the issue will be I
1510 shall have so much experience for my pains, and so,
1511 with no money at all and a little more wit, return
1512 390 again to Venice.
1513 How poor are they that have not patience!
1514 What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
1515 Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witchcraft,
1516 And wit depends on dilatory time.
1517 395 Does ’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee,
1518 And thou, by that small hurt, ⟨hast⟩ cashiered Cassio.
1519 Though other things grow fair against the sun,
1520 Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe.
1521 Content thyself awhile. ⟨By th’ Mass,⟩ ’tis morning!
1522 400 Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
1523 Retire thee; go where thou art billeted.
1525 Nay, get thee gone.Roderigo exits.
1526 Two things are to be done.
1527 405 My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress.
1528 I’ll set her on.
1529 Myself ⌜the⌝ while to draw the Moor apart
1530 And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
1531 Soliciting his wife. Ay, that’s the way.
1532 410 Dull not device by coldness and delay.